By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A new show about the entertainment and education of regional culture that filmed its first episode in Stillwater is set to debut Tuesday on Travel Channel.
Host Geoff Edgers will guide viewers into events around each state he visits.
“We’re doing 13 episodes,” Edgers said. “We’ve already filmed 11 of them. There’s roughly three things that happen each episode.”
In the first episode of the season, Edgers begins his visit to Oklahoma at Tumbleweed Dancehall and Concert Venue in Stillwater for the annual Calf Fry. But before he tries the interesting delicacy served at the event — fried bull testicles — he gets his hands dirty performing the graphic procedure on a bull himself.
“I don’t think I was like G.I. Joe in there,” Edgers said. “I’m a guy from Boston with an English degree. I knew what I was going to do on paper but I didn’t go through a briefing. When you see me doing that, I’m doing it for the first time.”
The experience was very “visceral,” he said.
“I hope that you’re watching that along with me experiencing what it’s like,” he said. “We’re not doing it for shock. We’re doing it because it’s something that’s been done for hundreds of years.”
Edgers, who graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, is a journalist who has had many pieces published by GQ, Spin and Wired magazines. According to a press release, he’s interviewed legendary musicians and actors, including Paul McCartney and Julie Andrews. His on-air career began with “Do It Again,” a documentary he produced and starred in about his quest to reunite English rock band The Kinks. Now, Edgers looks to get in front of the camera again as he sets out to meet interesting people and take part in cultural events. His first stop came in Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma for me, a guy from Boston, it’s like a foreign country,” he said. “I’ve never been there before. I don’t know much about it.”
But he said he found everyone he met to be “incredibly warm and inviting.” He said Oklahomans were very generous with their time.
Edgers continued his trip to Mangum for its annual Rattlesnake Derby, where items made from snakeskin are sold, rattlesnakes are on display or one can grab a cooked bite of rattlesnake to eat.
“Can you think of anything less welcoming than rattlesnakes?” Edgers said. “I can’t, and yet the people here have taken this and turned it into a wildly popular event that draws thousands of people to this tiny town. I think it’s brilliant.”
Edgers said he enjoys the interactions he has with everyone he meets.
“I’m on the greatest adventure, professionally, that I could be on,” he said. “I’m getting paid to fly planes and ski with vikings.
“Yesterday, I was in the desert in Nevada with a guy who is the champion off-road racer in the desert. I was driving one of his trucks through these hair pin turns over bumps. I’m getting paid to do that.”
He said he believes the show will capture the feel of the events, the moments and the people.
“There’s a lot of TV on that makes fun of people and doesn’t really embrace them,” Edgers said. “But I love people, I love adventure and I hope that comes through when people watch the show.”
“Edge of America” debuts at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Travel Channel.